The Week’s Best Reads

From China’s blazing new trains to the looming implosion of the NCAA, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the Web this week.

09.16.11 7:40 PM ET

How Fast Can China Go?
Simon Winchester, Vanity Fair

The world’s great powers have long declared themselves through their rail lines—think the 20th Century Limited, the Flying Scotsman, or the Orient Express—and on June 30 the Chinese made their bid for supremacy, with the first official run of a $32 billion high-speed line between Shanghai and Beijing.

The Journalist and the Spies
Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker

The murder of a reporter who exposed Pakistan’s secrets.

The Shame of College Sports
Taylor Branch, The Atlantic

A leading civil-rights historian makes the case for paying college athletes—and reveals how a spate of lawsuits working their way through the courts could destroy the NCAA.

Does the Euro Have a Future?
George Soros, The New York Review of Books

A European treasury is the only way to save the world from a second Great Depression.

The FBI's Islamophobic Training
Spencer Ackerman, Wired

The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”

The Church of Labor
Lew Daly, Democracy Journal

The labor movement grew in this country in no small part because of the great supporting role played by the Catholic Church. But has our aggressive secularism contributed to labor’s decline?

Whitey’s Payback
T.J. English, Newsweek

Former mob boss Whitey Bulger may be behind bars, but for his victims’ families, former associates, and FBI agents, that’s not enough. T. J. English reports from the upcoming trial that has captivated Boston.